Realme X2 Pro Review: Flagship Killer 2019
The term ‘flagship killer’ is widely used nowadays. A phone with a top-end space and the price at the bottom of the belt get that tag. This is a title that is almost being passed. OnePlus has had this for some time with the first few devices. Xiaomi snatched it with the Poco F1 and now Realme is giving us credible reasons to call it Realme X2 Pro one. Just over a year old. This is the company’s first attempt to build a flagship. And on paper, it looks like the sweetest deal of the year. The phone mimics what looks good in the OnePlus 7T and then adds a few features above. So much so that it looks unnecessarily expensive on smartphones like the Galaxy Note 10+ and even the iPhone 11 Pro. While the company acknowledges these premium offers as the inspiration behind the X2 Pro, will a top-out spec sheet be enough to establish its name as a premium brand? Interestingly, most budget phone makers have stumbled upon the first few steps of entering the premium segment where there are still signs of loyalty to brands like Samsung, Apple and OnePlus. Is Realme’s first flagship hype and good enough to be this year’s flagship killer? Find out
Let’s start with the most obvious. Realme X2 Pro fast. Faster than other smartphones. Almost equal with the fastest. If you are looking for a superfast performer on a budget. Stop reading now, receive invitations and place orders. It will not disappoint you. In short, it largely mimics the performance of the OnePlus 7T, at a much lower price, of course. You both have Snapdragon 855+. Both 8GB RAM and 256GB UFS 3.0 storage. In fact, the X2 Pro offers a 12GB RAM variant for less than the 8GB OnePlus 7T. So the performance is definitely good. The 90Hz refresh rate of the display is helping the speed. This enhances the experience of using the UI to the extent that it is difficult to go back to using the normal 60Hz panel. However, here’s how to rent a benchmark –
Long story short, Realme X2 Pro certainly beat the OnePlus 7T and Redmi K20 Pro faster and in some synthetic benchmark tests. Both CPU and GPU metrics are as fast as you can get in Android space. It looks slower than the Redmi K20 Pro, but it’s actually decently fast, even without the 90Hz experience.
Considering all the firepower, the power of Realme X2 Pro must be in gaming. It makes it easy to play every game you throw. CoD Mobile. PUBG Mobile. Asphalt 9. Everything runs at the highest frame rate. You can see the results in the chart below.
Note: 30 FPS for Asphalt 9 is the default except for ROG Phone II and newer iPhone which can push FPS to 60.
The gaming experience is further enhanced by a beautifully designed console that comes from top to bottom with a swipe down in the game. It lets you change performance mode, turn on screen recording, adjust call settings, and more. This allows you to reply to messages while in-game via a pop-up window. These have been on other Realme (and Oppo) phones before, but they all work really smoothly on the X2 Pro. Audio output is also sufficient for outdoor gaming. Dolby DTS: The game sounds louder and clearer for X certification.
If the benchmark and gaming performance give any indication, the Realme X2 Pro is completely reliable as an everyday driver. We used the phone for about a week and the experience was satisfactory. In daily use the phone does not get too hot and apps and games load almost instantly. It also manages to cache games in the background like the OnePlus phone, and RAM management is much less aggressive than the mid-range offers from Realme.
This is where the Realme X2 Pro differs from the OnePlus experience. Although the latter uses an interface known for its minimalism and usability, ColorOS on the Realme X2 Pro looks like a UI that is meant for cheap phones to get a flagship smartphone. There is no shortage of features, but the overall aesthetic is the experience of using the Mars flagship device. The UI is swollen with unnecessary apps out of the box and the suite of Realme (Extension Oppo’s) in-house apps. This is definitely something I don’t want on a smartphone to compete with the premium offers from Samsung, Apple and OnePlus. However, ColorOS 6 offers more or less the same features as Realme’s other mid-rangers.
Realme is coming up with its own custom UI based on the upcoming ColorOS 7. And the company will bring the first beta build to the phone in December. This is definitely a way to attract more users to smartphones.
A 4,000mAh battery should be the norm in high-end and flagship smartphones and Realme X2 Pro applies the rule. Only, the phone is bundled with a 50W charger that can top up the battery in less than 30 minutes. It is by far the longest, currently the fastest it can get. For battery life, the X2 Pro costs a bit less than the OnePlus 7T. We clocked 643 minutes in the PCMark Work 2.0 Battery Life Test, while the OnePlus 7T scored an even better 753 minutes. Both will last you a day under moderate use, but the OnePlus 7T may extend it a bit longer. Considering most of the hardware under the hood, it’s not clear why the discrepancy is the same. This is probably due to software optimization which may be a little better on OnePlus 7T.
This is where Realme X2 Pro sets a benchmark. It rocks the same 64MP quad-camera setup as the previous Realme XT, only this time with a telephoto lens that can digitally zoom in at 20X. The 64MP sensor is the same Samsung ISOCELL GW-1 sensor followed by a macro lens and a wide-angle lens. It is more or less a setup that offers almost all the features that are prevalent in 2019 High resolution photo 8 Wide-angle shot. Lossless zoom. And macro power. But how do they all work in the real world? We’ll let these pictures talk –
Looking at the pictures, it is clear that the Realme X2 Pro is well tuned to create sharp details with acceptable dynamic range. There was plenty of detail in the shadows during the good control over the highlights. Realme says it has tuned the camera over the Realme XT, which has been tuned around the Huawei P30 Pro. And it shows when you use the Chrome Boost mode which pronounces contrast and saturation to a point that may not be what you saw while shooting. Still, the X2 Pro can shoot photos that are almost as good as the OnePlus 7T, just not as good. We noticed that the colors in the OnePlus 7T are much more vibrant.
The low-light mode is also something we liked, although it could have been better. The sound still occurs when the camera takes 3-4 seconds to take pictures, especially in dark areas. If you pixel the pixels, the highlights also look smoky like a painting.
Design and display
With all these features in the X2 Pro, the design is the last thing you care about. Here too the Realme X2 Pro seems to be cheaper than the OnePlus 7T. The 7T looks premium from Get Go with a frosted glass finish, slow dispersing gradient on the back and a slimmer profile. The X2 Pro is similar to the Realme design stuck in the mid-range segment. However, the materials used are much better. It has Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides and an aluminum frame that binds the body together. It’s too heavy to hold. The X2 Pro uses an in-screen fingerprint sensor that’s as fast as the OnePlus 7T. So is Face Unlock. The X2 Pro has also launched two master versions, similar to Red Brick and Concrete, respectively. Both have this kind of rough texture on the back and I’m not sure what it will look like to use for a long time. Although it does not manage to stand out.
As for the display, this is where the X2 Pro really puts the previous one up. AMOLED. 90Hz refresh rate. 100 percent DCI-P3 support with HDR10 + certification. Widevine L1 support. These are all features that we have come to expect from this year’s premium smartphone and the X2 Pro doesn’t disappoint. The display is smooth enough to use for serious gaming, and the 90Hz refresh rate, as we mentioned earlier, makes for a better UI experience. The whites on the panel look a bit bluish, but more testing is needed to know for sure. There is an option to change the color profiles and switch between 60Hz and 90Hz (does not happen automatically). In addition, the HDR10 + only works on supported games like PUBG Mobile and YouTube. Netflix and Amazon Prime video support is not yet available, but we hope it will be added soon as these two streaming websites periodically update support for HDR content for new devices. Overall, it’s a panel that doesn’t shy away from an experience like last year’s Poco F1. Instead, it adds more value to the already featured offer from Realme.
The last row
There are clear reasons to consider the Realme X2 Pro the best buy of the year. For a starting price of Rs 29,999, the X2 Pro offers a wonderful list of features and most of them seem to work without interruption. Charging speeds and refresh rates are definitely something I would struggle to get on most other flagship phones, leave the mid-rangers alone and the quality of the camera is enough to make it worthwhile. There are also doubts about the performance. The design alone keeps it a bit away from joining the premium club, which is acceptable considering the price at which Realme is selling the phone. But then again, still don’t give up hope of alternatives. We have heard that Xiaomi is planning to launch Mi Note 10 with 108MP camera in India in December, and if its price is reasonable then it will give X2 Pro stiff competition. So far, if you’re deciding between the X2 Pro and the OnePlus 7T, and if you’ve been agnostic, the Realme X2 Pro offers a much higher price than any other smartphone at the moment.